COPD: Lung Surgery Options

Healthcare providers performing surgery in operating room.Surgery is a choice for a small number of people with severe COPD. The surgeries include bullectomy, lung reduction, and lung transplant.


This surgery may be done on a person with emphysema, one type of COPD. In the lungs of a person with emphysema, the air sacs or alveoli are enlarged. Bullae are very large air sacs. A bullectomy removes the bullae, making it easier to breathe.

Lung volume reduction (LVR) surgery

A portion of one or both lungs is removed. This creates more space for the healthy parts of the lungs, making it easier to breathe. 

Lung transplant surgery

One or both unhealthy lungs are removed and replaced with lungs from a donor. Having donor organs available is a big challenge. After a lung transplant a person must take medicine to prevent the body from rejecting the new lungs. Lung transplants are not recommended for most people with COPD. 

Talk with your healthcare provider about whether or not surgery might be a choice for you.